I will deliver a seminar at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet next week.
The Public Sector in a World of Autonomous Systems
Emerging technologies are fundamentally impacting and transforming all aspects of our society. I am particularly concerned with how technological innovations impact 1) the design of our public institutions, 2) the apparatuses through which we shape, implement, and evaluate public policies, and 3) our governance frameworks for public goods. All indications suggest that we are moving toward a world where autonomous systems will dictate how we interface and interact with other agents and objects in our society. We can take advantage of emerging technologies to make our societies more livable, just, resilient, and sustainable. We need bold imagination and action to shape the future we want. This talk will outline how the public sector can take a leadership role in the design, development, and deployment of autonomous systems.
September 26, 2018: 13.30-14.30
New working paper available from IZA - Institute for Labor Economics.
What Do Parents Value in a Child Care Provider? Evidence from Yelp Consumer Reviews - IZA Discussion Paper No. 11741. Click here to download.
This paper exploits novel data and empirical methods to examine parental preferences for
child care. Specifically, we analyze consumer reviews of child care businesses posted on the
website Yelp.com. A key advantage of Yelp is that it contains a large volume of unstructured
information about a broad set of child care programs located in demographically and
economically diverse communities. Thus our analysis relies on a combination of theoryand
data-driven methodologies to organize and classify the characteristics of child care
that are assessed by parents. We also use natural language processing techniques to
examine the affect and psychological tones expressed in the reviews. Our main results are
threefold. First, we find that consumers overall are highly satisfied with their child care
provider, although those in higher-income markets are substantially more satisfied than
their counterparts in lower-income markets. Second, the program characteristics most
commonly evaluated by consumers relate to safety, quality of the learning environment,
and child-teacher interactions. However, lower- and higher-income consumers evaluate
different characteristics in their reviews. The former is more likely to comment on a
program’s practical features, such as its pricing and accessibility, while the latter is more
likely to focus on the learning environment. Finally, we find that consumers in lowerincome
markets are more likely to display negative psychological tones such as anxiety and
anger in their reviews, particularly when discussing the nature of their interactions with
program managers and their child’s interactions with teachers.
Our recent research on blockchain continues to be published on Brookings TechTank. See below for links to recent articles:
- How China’s local governments and academia propel blockchain business
- Is China leading the blockchain innovation race?
- How blockchain could improve election transparency
- Blockchain and U.S. state governments: An initial assessment
External coverage: ZDNet
Isabelle Fagnot, Chen Ye, and I have a paper in the current issue of Systèmes d'Information et Management.
Mega-scale information technology (IT) projects in the public sector are significant undertakings operating within an ecosystem of stakeholders, resources, and constraints. The track record of these projects is abysmal. Employing an ecosystems lens, we study three failed mega-scale public sector IT projects: the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Virtual Case File (VCF), the U.S.federal government’s HealthCare.gov project, and Great Britain’s National Programme for IT (NPfIT). A forensic analysis of these projects was conducted employing the Qualitative Media Analysis (QMA) methodology. The findings suggest several stakeholders in a public IT project assume roles analogous to different types of species in an ecosystem, with the public agency sponsoring the project as the keystone species. Specifically, the findings show that the public agency is susceptible to failure in hiring key personnel with proper knowledge and experience, and failure in responding to early signals alerting the impending implosion of the project ecosystem. In addition, flawed relationships between the public agency and contractors, and flawed relationship between the legislature and the public agency also contributed significantly to project failure.
Systèmes d'Information et Management (French Journal of Management Information Systems) is the major French language journals addressing information systems intended for organization management.
I am looking forward to participating in the Mechanics for the Future: How Can Governments Transform Themselves? session at the Salzburg Global Forum.
Governments worldwide are under pressure to meet complex needs as populations age, countries urbanize, and technology transforms lives and work. They have lead responsibility to prepare their societies for a radically changing world, yet face shrinking budgets and declining trust in the public sector. The machinery of government has changed, requiring governments to transform themselves, both in terms of the methodology they use and the people needed to implement the change. What is the role of government in driving innovation? How can countries and cities learn from each other? How can governments recruit and retain the best people in public service with the right skills? How can governments better harness the market, and strengthen constructive partnerships with civil society and the private sector? What types of public communication work best to rebuild public trust?
See here for a list of attendees.
As part of the meeting, I will be leading a discussion on the potential for advances in artificial intelligence (AI) to transform how we govern. We will employ a case study that I co-authored with Richard T. Watson (Regents Professor and the J. Rex Fuqua Distinguished Chair for Internet Strategy, University of Georgia). The case study takes place in a country, Intelligensia, and is focused on deploying AI systems to modernize the national healthcare system and improve quality of life outcomes.
This article draws your attention to the design, development, deployment, and refinement of cognitive computing systems (CCSs). While CCSs are deployed in a variety of fields yielding benefits exceeding expectations, there are also major failures. Lack of appreciation for the differences inherent in developing a CCS versus a traditional software system is key to these failures. To assist in developing successful CCSs and to derive benefits from them, the authors offer a set of nine key recommendations based on their examination of over two dozen systems. They conclude that CCSs will be a dominant technology that will permeate all business operations for the foreseeable future.
I will be spending time at the Università Bocconi during March 2018 as a Visiting Professor. I will deliver several lectures as part of the Innovation and Big Data in the Public Sector course taught by my colleague, Prof. Maria Cucciniello. In addition, I will be working on several research projects with colleagues in Milan.
Source: December 8, 2017 – Governing